Hey Laurence: We are marking Bastille Day at the Manse!

Bastille Day at the ManseA little while back I wrote about how Raymond and I are having fun with flags at the Manse, occasionally replacing the Ontario flag that usually flies from the front of the house with the flags of different countries or regions to mark special days in those places. One comment I got on that post came from a friend of mine in France, Laurence, who told me that she hoped she’d see the French flag on July 14. That of course is Bastille Day, France’s national holiday. I promised Laurence that she would get her wish – and, as you can see from the photo atop this post, we have kept that promise. (Oh, and I should mention that Raymond and I have a special reason to celebrate this and every Bastille Day from now on, because it is the birthday of Raymond’s grandson, Henry. Henry turned one year old today!) As I was thinking about how, aside from the photo of the French Tricolore, to mark Bastille Day here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, I came upon the brilliant idea of sharing my favourite scene from my favourite movie. Not bad, eh? It is of course the spine-tingling scene in the immortal Casablanca when ostensibly crusty and stick-my-neck-out-for-nobody nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) gives the silent nod that allows the house band (conducted by resistance hero Victor Laszlo [Paul Henreid]) to drown out a bunch of bellowing Nazis with the Marseillaise, France’s national anthem. Watch the staff and regulars at Rick’s Café Américain join in lustily, with patriotic tears in their eyes (as the beautiful Ilsa Lund, love interest to both Rick and Victor and played by the divine Ingrid Bergman, looks on, also teary-eyed) and just try to tell me it doesn’t give you shivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM-E2H1ChJM So there you go. From us at the Manse to all friends, French and otherwise – and especially to my old friend and former fellow student at the Université de Nantes, Laurence: Happy Bastille Day. And: Vive la France!

6 thoughts on “Hey Laurence: We are marking Bastille Day at the Manse!

  1. Vive la France! I raise my glass of rosé. Ah, Bastille Day, a day always celebrated around the Duclos household. Gone are the days when we would accompany my father to the festivities hosted by the French Consulate in Toronto; free flowing champagne, wine, hors d’oeuvres, followed by dinner and dance at the Palais Royale.

    Ilsa Lund played by the divine Ingrid Bergman in that scene in Casablanca is one thing. But for me its really Madeleine Lebeau’s role as Yvonne, Rick’s jilted mistress. Elle est magnifique! Her tears while singing La Marseillaise are apparently real as she and her husband had escaped from Nazi occupied France. At age 91 and living in Rome, Madeleine Lebeau is the last living member of the credited cast for Casablanca.

    • Wow, that Bastille Day reception sounds like a mighty good time, Bert! Lucky you, to have French parentage on a day like that. Meanwhile, I can tell that you are a fellow major fan of Casablanca. I have always been struck by the tears in Yvonne’s eyes during that wonderful scene, but of course put it down to good acting; how amazing (and touching) to learn how close to home it must have been for Madeleine Lebeau. And how wonderful that she is still alive. I wonder if she has ever written about her life, Casablanca and otherwise.

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